Do you remember the last time the Sharks played the Kings: Before offensive power outages and lockouts? Before a team that lost more games than it won took the Stanley Cup? Back when Ryane Clowe could play the puck from the bench better than he currently is on the ice? Fear the Fin remembers.
Ah, those were the days.
It's been nearly a year since these two teams have played. The Sharks and Kings ended the regular season last year with a pair of San Jose victories on April 5th and 7th, 2012. Since then, the Kings have been one of the elite teams in the NHL. The Sharks? Not so much.
|14-9-2, 30 points||11-8-6, 28 points|
|4th in Western Conference
||9th in Western Conference|
7:30 PM PST | HP Pavilion | San Jose, California
Projected Sharks Lineup
Logan Couture - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns
Ryane Clowe - Patrick Marleau - Joe Pavelski
James Sheppard - Scott Gomez - Tommy Wingels
Andrew Desjardins - Michal Handzus - Adam Burish
Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Douglas Murray - Brad Stuart
Projected Kings Lineup
Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Jeff Carter
Dwight King - Jarret Stoll - Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Jordan Nolan
Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty
Rob Scuderi - Slava Voynov
Keaton Ellerby - Davis Drewiske
To be fair, not everything has gone the Kings way this year. Let's compare netminders between teams. 'Goaltender A' has a 10-5-5 record with a 2.01 GAA and a .930 SV%. 'Goaltender B' has gone 9-8-2 with a 2.60 GAA and a .894 SV%. At the beginning of the year, would anyone believe that Antti Niemi would be 'Goaltender A', while Jonathan Quick was 'B'? Despite the sub-par year from Quick, the Kings have still dominated the underlying stats, leaving them in solid position for a playoff spot.
On the Sharks side, the Brent Burns experiment (solid band name) continues tonight. After scoring in his first game as a winger for San Jose, I'm already confident in saying he's our fifth best forward. That's not really a good thing. Maybe the Sharks are just trying to copy the Kings' winning formula of turning an offensive defenseman into a goal scoring forward. Doug Wilson just forgot about the trade part in the middle.